His work is a dance of life and death with a fauna-centric perspective. Berlin inspired him to dig deeper in the rawness of human nature and the demons provided by old myths. For his upcoming exhibition GARGANTUA he created fauna based metaphors for the world we live in and the effects of the anthropocene.
George Hambov at coGalleries studio | Berlin, August 2019 © Tahian Bhering
Why did you choose to do a residency in Berlin?
I chose Berlin to do my residency for multiple reasons. I had never been to Germany before and coming from my own street art past it was a no brainer to visit. Secondly I wanted to immerse myself in a city that both removed me from my safe well accustomed home (and the perceived barriers placed on me from the Australian aesthetic) in Sydney and provide me a raw and historically darker place to engage in a series of works for an audience that I believe is more capable of engaging in the new body of work “Gargantua”.
Is there a Berlin effect? Does the city affect the creative process somehow?
Absolutely! …I have multiple discussions with friends and partner about the differences with particular reference to the Sydney/Berlin dynamic.
I think the best way to explain the Berlin effect for me is that it innately has a much more raw and relaxed attitude. There seems to be significantly less ego present as compared to Sydney and I don’t know whether it is Germany or Berlin specifically but it seems everyone here is much more comfortable and confident in their own skin. That makes my creative process an echo of that raw, relaxed nature.
Berlin Wall by Apeseven aka George Hambov, September 2019 © Apeseven
How would you contextualize your work?
An exploration of old world history inspired and framed loosely by King Solomon’s grimoire “The Goetia”. Light and dark, life and death reside in us all, every person deals with them in their own ways. I wanted to draw form to my own personal demons as a process, reflect my personal commentary and maybe attain some level awareness to the world around me.
Looking up your work, it seems to include a rather dark view of the world. How come?
From a western perspective I guess my work deals with darker issues. I choose to think of it as an all-encompassing view of life. With life comes the inevitable conclusion, death. The gateway that death creates for rebirth, change and evolution is boundless and should be acknowledged. The complex tapestry of life and death is a beautiful thing. I simply dance in that awareness rather than run from it.
There are repeating symbols and pictures in your paintings like the bird, the key, and certain mystical hints. Can you tell us more about your symbolism?
As humans for the entire history of our species we have placed importance on symbols, script, deities, tradition and customs, as a way to negotiate and place some order to the chaos of our lives.
For me in particular the birds represent innate freedom of movement and a closer dialogue with nature which most humans lack. The key symbolizes that gateway described earlier, to a process of renewal, rebirth and evolution.
The title of your exhibition is “Gargantua“. Why did you choose it and what will the audience get to see?
“Gargantua” was chosen as a title for this body of work not as a literal interpretation but representative of how dominant the figures and subject matter are. “Gargantua” was also chosen to mirror our own species effect on the world we live in, not by painting portraits of other humans (or a human centric perspective) but creating fauna based metaphors. The audience will be confronted with canvas and installation works that are aesthetically challenging and hopefully thought provoking.
Artwork in Progress, September 2019 © Apeseven
Why is your work relevant?
To answer that I will start with the supposition
“All art is irrelevant!?” and work backwards from there:
Art is a cathartic process of navigating an existence.
Relevance is a tool; placed by observers and is used at will.
For individual humans they want to feel they are not alone in their beliefs.
For the government it is a tool to pacify and maintain power.
For corporations it is profit.
You the observer now have the choice…
What is your next move?
Pursuing a greater more meaningful relationship with nature.
Berlin Wall by George Hambov, 2019 © Apeseven
On 10th of October the solo exhibition “GARGANTUA” is going to be opened at coGalleries, where George Hambov's latest works will be on show until October 16th, 2019.